Before I started a blog, I read a lot of other blogs about loss. I noticed that many of them had a “shelf-life”, so to speak. The writer eventually must have felt that expressing their grief in a blog, had run its course. I took it to mean that they had moved on to processing their grief differently, that they were healing, and were finally able to let grief move into the background…no longer hogging center stage. Some people probably also just got sick and tired of writing about grief! I’ve been starting to feel like a broken record, myself.
In fact, just this morning, armed with an extremely ambitious to-do list, I thought, “Hey! I might be done writing about grief”. Not that I am done grieving, but I am starting to feel that perhaps writing about it isn’t helping me move forward any more. And really, I feel like I keep saying the same damn thing, just in a slightly different way. See? Didn’t I already say that?
But you can’t push the process. This I have learned. Turns out, I got ahead of myself. Today’s to-do list was over-zealous, and I definitely I over-did it. Because by evening, I was so exhausted, I could barely make dinner, and I found myself sitting on the shower floor, bawling, wishing my friend Martha still lived in the same town so she could bring me some wine.
Any interest in knowing what I was crying about? I was crying because I realized that in this house, we call a spade a spade. Dead is dead. There’s no sugar-coating it, and the finality of it can bring you to your knees.
People might assume that I find comfort in thinking my husband is looking down on me from heaven. That he is in a good place. Or they might think that it is comforting to imagine hearing his voice encouraging me, as I muddle through every day…that there is “comfort” and closure in the memories that I have. The photos, our garden, the things we built, and did together.
In my experience, there are some days when – I’m sorry to tell you – there is simply no comfort to be found in the reality of death…the physical absence, the “lack of” the person you loved, it just hurts like a mofo. If you know what I mean. Those are the brutal days, when you find yourself crumpled on the shower tiles, thinking crazy thoughts, seeking desperate measures to relieve the pain of your loss. You just want the harsh reality to go POOF! Like it was a sick joke, a slight of hand, those awful cards your husband was dealt.
Those are the moments when you tell yourself, “don’t lose faith, don’t lose hope”, but then immediately find yourself asking, what the hell am I hoping for? A miracle? He’s dead!! Gone. Never coming back. You’ll never hear his wonderful laugh, or touch the nape of his neck again. It’s not a gray area, people. I can pretend that I know what he’d be saying right now, but he probably would have surprised me with his opinion. That’s what I loved about him. That’s what I miss. He was my complement, not my twin. So in my reality, there is rarely a comforting voice from up above – just the silence of his absence. The loss of his living, breathing body, his funny perspective, his unique grace in this world. The spice in my life. A lonely shower of loss it makes…
I guess in those dark moments, you are hoping for healing. You are hoping that the lightning bolts of pain will hit less frequently, with less accuracy, that they won’t cut so deep, that one day, the rawness of grief will be a soft memory in the past.
But there’s the rub. You don’t want it to disappear altogether, either. Your connection to that person is intrinsically woven into your grief. Your grief, the complicated tangle that it is, exists because someone you loved deeply, died. Though I know my relationship with it will change over time, it is the thread – the fascia that connects muscles to bones. This loss, this grief, this heart-searing connection to his life and his death, will be with me forever. Another spade, we can call a spade.
And, apparently, I’m not quite done writing about it yet.